The final book sale of the semester to benefit the Writing Arts Department’s student-run startup Singularity Press is being held today, tomorrow, and Thursday (April 23, 24, and 25) from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the first-floor elevator lobby of Victoria Hall (260 Victoria Street). Stop by to search for that hard-to-find book you’ve been yearning for, or feel free to pick through the stacks to pique your interest. Both cash and Venmo payments are accepted, as are straight-up donations to the Press. Contact Megan Atwood for more information.
Writing Center Shows Age Can Be A Fascinating Number
When most young adults go to college, they don’t normally make friends who are 10 years younger or 70 years older than them.
That is, unless they work at the Rowan Writing Center.
The RWC – a branch of the Writing Arts Department that offers writing tutoring services to students across the campus – has, since last fall, been running community outreach programs with clients at opposite ends of the lifespan spectrum: An elementary school class and a senior citizen assisted living facility.
Writing Arts assistant professor Celeste Del Russo, director of the Writing Center, set up writing workshop programs at the two institutions – The Terraces at Parke Place senior facility in Sewell and the Thomas E. Bowe Elementary School in Glassboro – as a life experience for her tutors.
“These programs,” Celeste said, “keep our tutors connected to the community and to the real world. The work we’re doing with the seniors and with the school kids is more than just a service activity line on a resume. It keeps them grounded and connected and helps them grow as individuals.”
“Peggie is my friend,” 22-year-old Laura Kincaid, a three-year Writing Center veteran, said of her 91-year-old writing partner at the Terraces. “She’s a fascinating woman. She was sickly as a child and grew up in a hospital. By age 16, she was working in a gas station. Peggie was a journalist and a writer and still considers herself an ‘avid proofreader.’
“I truly enjoy the time I spend with her,” Laura said. “We exchange email and I still visit her from time to time.”
At the Terraces, the goal for RWC tutors is to “capture the moment, to get these life stories chronicled,” Celeste said, explaining that many of these experiences might be lost forever if not for this project.
While the program at the Terraces was designed to coincide with National Assisted Living Week back in September, Celeste said the RWC has shifted its focus to celebrate National Poetry Month in April. “We want our tutors to help the seniors turn their memories into poetry.”
At the Bowe school, the Writing Center tutors are working with gifted and talented students in grades four through six, concentrating on the “Girls Will Be Girls” writing group.
“We want these young students to build confidence in their writing,” Celeste said. “By putting their work on display, they see their writing has value and is appreciated by others.”
Writing that has value and is appreciated by others: These goals are being achieved by 11-year-olds and 91-year-olds with the guidance and assistance of the Rowan Writing Center and the Writing Arts Department . . . proof of the importance of what we do every day – both inside and outside our classrooms.
It’s Time to Order and Administer Your Student Evaluations
If you haven’t already done so, be sure to order “Student Evaluation of Teaching Effectiveness” surveys for each of your classes this semester. In addition to providing you with feedback on your pedagogical performance this spring, you will need these Evaluations for your upcoming recontracting packet. While students can complete these surveys on their own time, it is strongly recommended you dedicate time during class for students to fill out the evaluation, leaving them alone in the class as they do so. Click here for more information on how to order the evaluations, instruct your students on how to access the survey, and send reminders to students who might not have yet completed the form. For more information, contact Natalie Kautz at the Faculty Center.
Department Diversity Council Focuses on Equity, Inclusion
The Writing Arts Diversity Council – formed earlier this semester – is hard at work on many exciting projects to attend to diversity-related needs in the department and to work toward increasing equity and inclusion for faculty, staff, and students. Following an informal listening tour, the 20 council members have taken up subcommittee work on staffing, professional development, student concerns, and curriculum. Projects include production of a faculty fact sheet on the characteristics of the Rowan student body, assessing needs and opportunities related to race and adjunct faculty, adding diversity-related resources to the Instructor Support Site for the First Year Writing Program, and partnering with the Office of Social Justice, Inclusion, and Conflict Resolution for professional development. The passion and dedication of the Writing Arts Diversity Council is inspiring and offers great hope for our department’s continued and growing excellence. (Editor’s Note: Thank you to colleague Rachael Shapiro for this update,. Please contact her for more information on the council, to discuss its initiatives, and to volunteer to serve in the fall semester.)
CCII Textbook Grant Helps Students Save Significantly
Congratulations to Writing Arts colleagues Jude Miller and Amanda Haruch who – along with Sam Kennedy from the Campbell Library staff – received a Textbook Alternative Program Grant that will enable the department to replace our College Composition II textbooks with Open Educational Resources. It’s estimated this switch will save Rowan students somewhere between $100,000 and $166,000 per year. In addition to the cost savings, Jude said the grant will “further promote accessibility, inclusion, and affordability” throughout all sections of CCII and “will also afford us the space to more purposefully curate readings and course materials from diverse voices.” Great work, Jude and Amanda! You are saving our students money and upgrading our teaching materials at the same time.
WA Student to Have Nonfiction Piece Published
Writing Arts student Jackie Domenus will have her personal essay “Tomboy” published in the nonfiction section of an upcoming edition of Watershed Review literary magazine, a publication of the University of California at Chico. Launched in 2012, Watershed Review reports its mission as being “to publish literature and visual art that illustrates diversity in thought and experience, and an awareness of literary tradition in conversation with the shifting edges of genre.
. . . and a Few More Upcoming Activities and Events
- Saturday, May 4: The annual Student Showcase & Awards Ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. in Pfleeger Concert Hall in Wilson Hall. (Note the change of venue this year from the Chamberlain Center Ballroom.) Stellar examples of student work will be on display and an array of end-of-the-academic-year awards and scholarships will be announced and presented. Contact Gina DiBartolo for more details.
- Saturday, May 11: University Graduation will be held at 5 p.m. in Wackar Stadium followed by the Commencement Coast Celebration in the nearby Robinson Green on North Campus Drive. Faculty who wish to march in the processional and sit on the main stage must be in full academic regalia. Click here to RSVP for the event. Our university commencement speaker this year will be nationally recognized fitness guru Shaun T (Shaun Thompson Blokker), a 2001 Rowan graduate from Camden.
- Wednesday, May 15: CCCA Graduation will be held at 10 a.m. on Bunce Green. Again, faculty must be in full regalia to participate. The featured speaker for our college ceremony will be Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and current MSNBC correspondent Trymaine Lee, a 2003 Rowan grad from Chesilhurst.
Help Pick the Date For ‘Writing Arts Night at The Phillies’
Tickets for the first-place Philadelphia Phillies are flying out of Citizens Bank Park faster than they have in a while, which means we need to start narrowing down our potential days for “Rowan Writing Arts Night at the Phillies.” Please take a moment to fill out this Doodle Poll and let us know how many of these nine dates in June and July you would be able to join your colleagues, family, and friends for a night at the ballpark. Please put a number after your name indicating how many tickets your group would like. (See my entry for an example.) The magic number is 25 people as that’s the threshold needed to get a $4 per ticket discount. Last year’s group enjoyed our left field location in Section 330, which – for this year – would mean each seat would cost $24, (discounted from $28). FYI, the opponents we might see are the Arizona Diamondbacks (June 10, 11,12), the New York Mets (June 24 ,25, 26), or the Los Angeles Dodgers (July 15, 16, 17). Please feel free tocontact me if you have any questions.
Do you have a new publication, a reading, or any other event of interest coming up? Please let me know so I can let all our colleagues know in the Rowan Writing Arts Events Update newsletter. Stop by my Victoria 521 office or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to give me the 4-1-1.
Access Events Update online by clicking here.
Stephen A. Royek, M.A.
Lecturer, Writing Arts
Chair, Faculty Senate Awards Committee
Victoria Hall, Room 521